Mexican food (and we're talking the authentic stuff, NOT Chiquitos) is one of our all-time favourites.
The aromatic ingredients, colourful presentations and bold food combinations make for one heck of a mealtime.
Now you can have a stab at creating your own Mexican-themed dishes with three recipes from über-cool cooking bible, Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte.
Chicken Enfrijoladas | Serves 6
Region: All regions | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 clove garlic
1 pasilla or ancho chile, membranes and seeds removed
2 morita or other smoked chile, membranes and seeds removed
2 avocado leaves (optional)
1½ cups (7 oz/200 g) cooked black beans, drained, with cooking liquid reserved
⅔ cup (5 fl oz/150 ml) corn oil or lard
18 day-old Corn Tortillas
1½ lb/700 g chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
½ cup (4 fl oz/120 ml) sour cream
10½ oz/300 g chorizo, sliced
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/Gas Mark 4).
2) Put the garlic, onion, chiles, and avocado leaves, if using, into a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the leaves, if using, after 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
3) Put the beans, garlic, onion, chiles, avocado leaves, if using, a pinch of salt, and the reserved cooking liquid into a food processor or blender and process until thoroughly combined. You may need a little of the bean cooking liquid to do this. Strain into a bowl.
4) Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a shallow saucepan. Add the bean mixture and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until it thickens.
5) Heat the rest of the oil in a large frying pan or skillet. One at a time, add the tortillas and cook briefly on both sides, for no more than 10 seconds, making sure they do not turn brown and stiff.
6) Dip the cooked tortillas immediately into the warm bean sauce to coat. Place each one on a plate, put some shredded chicken on one half, and fold it up so it looks like a half moon.
7) Put 3 enfrijoladas on each plate. Pour the extra sauce over the enfrijoladas. Drizzle sour cream over them and top with chorizo slices.
Note: They can also be garnished with sliced red onion and cotija cheese.
Crab Tostadas | Serves 10-12
Region: Gulf | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes
3 cloves garlic
1 white onion
2 bay leaves
pinch of dried oregano
4 tablespoons corn oil
3 ½ tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
1 cup (3. oz/100 g) green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (coriander)
1 lb 10 oz/750 g crabmeat
1 bag tostadas (14 oz/400 g) or 20–24 small Corn Tortillas (page 36), fried or dry-roasted until they are crispy
For the sauce:
1 ¼ cup (10. oz/300 g) mayonnaise
4–6 smoked chipotle chiles in adobo
lettuce, finely chopped
ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Red Onion Escabeche (page 478), to garnish
1) Put the tomatoes, garlic, onion, bay leaves, oregano, and peppercorns in a food processor or blender and process until it is smooth and strain into a bowl.
2) Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomato mixture and cook for 10 minutes over low-medium heat.
3) Add the capers, olives, cilantro (coriander), and crabmeat, mix well, then season with salt to taste.
4) Remove from the heat and set aside.
5) For the sauce, put the mayonnaise and chipotle chiles in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Put in a serving bowl and set aside.
6) Spread the sauce over the tostada shells and put the crab mixture on top.
7) Garnish with some lettuce, avocado, and red onion escabeche. Serve immediately, otherwise they turn soggy.
Cheese in Green Salsa | Serves 6
Region: Federal district | Preparation Time: 25 minutes | Cooking Time: 7 minutes
1 lb 4 oz/600 g fresh cheese, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices
16 tomatillos, dry-roasted
1 large clove garlic, dry-roasted
1 white onion, dry-roasted
1–2 dried chipotles chiles, dry-roasted
chives, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths
fried tomato skin
1) Put the tomatillos, garlic, onion, and chiles into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
2) Pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer for 7 minutes.
3) Heat a grill (griddle) or frying pan over high heat. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut the cut the slices of cheese. Add the cheese and fry for 3 minutes on each side, or until brown.
4) Ladle the sauce onto a plate, position the cheese, and garnish with tortilla strips, chives and fried tomato skins. Serve immediately.
Recipes taken from Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s Mexico: The Cookbook, £29.95.